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Paradigm Speech/Debate

Learning how to seek, share and live effectively the Truth.

Paradigm Speech and Debate Club is a parent-led and parent-instructed organization, with assistance from Paradigm alumni for routine coaching in debate and limited areas of speech. The philosophy of this club is to instill in the students the strengths of the family as the primary working model for the education and socialization of students, the gaining of practical application of Biblical principles in a competitive format, and for the inculcation of American values. Paradigm has had many successes in the national home school debate league over the past ten years. Students range from 12 years of age to seniors in high school. The club emphasizes Lincoln-Douglas debate, policy debate, platform-speaking events, limited-preparation speaking events, apologetics, and interpretive- speaking events. These activities have been extremely useful in fostering the skills of technical research, logical thinking, critical analysis, expository writing, and public speaking.

The club meets Mondays 6pm.

The Chapel at Grossmont - 5651 Water St, La Mesa CA 91942

Paradigm calendar listings   

For more club info: Contact Paradigm Speech & Debate Club

Paradigm Speech & Debate President: Steve Winston


Important Links for Paradigm

National Stoa Speech and Debate Organization

You will find all the rules for every speech & debate event. Here you will find explainations of all the events in great detail

Stoa National Tournament Calendar

This calendar is how you will find the tournaments across the entire country.

Lincoln-Douglas Team Reading List

This reading list barely ripples the surface of the ocean of excellent books available to provide a good background for Lincoln-Douglas Debate. The foundational list is composed of books each student ought to attempt to conquer sooner rather than later. Most harbor the interdisciplinary approach vital in LD.

The advanced list requires a more mature mind to work through. The specialty reading is all selected to give insight into narrow slices of various subjects – US history, technology, politics, architecture, or business – and the selections are generally engaging reading.

With one exception, only one selection from the corpus of each author is listed. However, each author has written more than one very good book, and some of them (D'Souza, Winchester, Ambrose, McCullough, etc) have been quite prolific. If you find an author you enjoy, look for other books by him or her and "follow" that person.

Finally, please note that no original source works are listed here. These can be difficult to study, but in the final analysis all of the books listed below derive in significant amounts from primary source material. Two simple source documents (because of their brevity) might be the Mayflower Compact or the Declaration of Independence. Locke's Second Treatise would be more complex. John Stuart Mill's On Liberty or Trenchard and Gordon's Cato's Letters are full-blown books, the latter generally appearing in four volumes.

Foundational Reading

Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies – Jared Diamond
Discusses why some societies surge ahead, while others lag behind. Provacative and educational. Easy reading.

TIME 100 Ideas That Changed the World: History's Greatest Breakthroughs, Inventions, and Theories
Good thumbnail of historical events and their impact on the present day, but beware! A mere 100 event list will naturally reflect the biases of the editors, omitting many events which others will (and have) said should have been included instead!

The Most Powerful Idea in the World: A Story of Steam, Industry, and Invention – William Rossen
A comprehensive study of how nothing transpires in a vacuum, in this case the development of the steam engine. This revolutionary device require advances in law, economics, philosophy, religion, politics, and technology to finally arrive. An interdisciplinary study that relates well to the type of analyses required in LD.

1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created – Charles Mann
We know that Indian corn, potatoes, and tomatoes have revolutionized agriculture and cuisine around the world, but that just scratches the surface of the profound economic and cultural changes that resulted from the trans-oceanic traffic spawned by Columbus's earth-shaking trips of exploration.

A Patriot's History of the United States – Larry Schweikart, Michael Allen
A well-documented corrective to a lot of the politically correct ideas being fomented in the public forum of American current events.

What's So Great about America? - Dinesh D'Souza
America has certainly made its mistakes, but focusing on these has caused us to forget how profoundly it has altered the world for the better. D'Souza reminds us anew.


Why the West Rules for Now – Ian Morris (Mid-to late high school level read.)
An interesting comparison of why Western civilization, and not Chinese, is the current standard for all progress, with prognostications for the future.

Clash of Orthodoxies: Law, Religions, and Morality in Crisis – Robert George (Probably no earlier than 11th & 12th grade reading.)
Mr. George is a Princeton professor who has gone against the grain of American cultural trends. Fascinating use of logic.

Idols for Destruction – Herbert Schlossberg (11th & 12th grade due to difficulty of vocabulary and subtlety of thought, but 9th & 10th might try it if they have precocious minds.)
The Israelites fashioned idols for their own self-destruction: how the United States is doing that is the theme of this book. Examines the idols of mammom, environmentalism, power, and more.

Free to Choose – Milton & Rose Friedman (High school.)
Once a best-seller, this classic on economics has eye-opening insights about Keynes, unions, government intervention in economics, and more.



Lincoln at Gettysburg – Garry Wills (Jr high is accustomed to this kind of thing, all high schoolers.)
A short read, but demonstrates the blending of thoughts that forms the foundation of any great event. Plus, it's about the Gettysburg Address!

Miracle at Philadelphia: The Story of the Constitutional Convention – Catherine Drinker Bowen (High School.)
Solid historian and replete discussion of the ideas and efforts that went into the forming of the US Constitution.

Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln – Doris Kearns Goodwin (High School, but also Jr. High if they have the patience.)
Why do only two presidents (Lincoln & Washington) have a day set aside for them? This book explains vividly from the lens of watching how Lincoln mastered his opponents by making them his cabinet and molding them to make them a machine to win the Civil War.

1775: a Good Year for Revolution – Kevin Phillips (High School, probably 11th & 12th grades only.)
Thesis: The British had lost the war before 1776 ever began. A study of the various religious, economic, cultural, and political factors foreordained American independence by 1775.

1776 – David McCullough (All LD-ers.)
Demonstrates how Washington grew into the general that caused the military events of the Revolution to follow the political and cultural ones of the 1770's and secure American Independence.

The Great Bridge: The Epic Story of the Building of the Brooklyn Bridge – David McCullough (7th grade and up.)
What goes into building a great bridge? McCullough explores the history, politics, economics, technology, and psychology of the people who made it happen. Very instructive.

Nothing Like It in the World: The Men Who Built the Transcontinental Railroad – Stephen Ambrose (7th grade & up.)
Amborse, a great WWII historian, tackles this enormous construction project that closed the era of the wagon train and ushered in a new American West. As with McCullough's Great Bridge, this demonstrates how great undertakings work at many levels – historical, military, technological, cultural, economic, and more.

Brunelleschi's Dome: How a Renaissance Genius Reinvented Architecture – Ross King (7th grade and up.)
A fifteenth century look at how municipal politics, finance, architectural innovation, technology, and the clash of men of genius brought about one of the wonders of the Renaissance. Great interdisciplinary applications to LD.

The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9-11 – Lawrence Wright (High School.)
Examining the clash of cultures, the politics, and the economics that led to the attack of 9-11.

The Map that Changed the World – Simon Winchester (11th & 12th grades.)
The history behind a narrow slice of science could be harnessed to benefit technology, in the process upsetting legal, cultural, and political apple carts.

Alumnus Testimony from Jeremy West


I hope to convince you that debate isn't just for pre-law students and political science majors. On the contrary, it might be the most significant way for students pursuing science, technology, engineering and mathematics to stand out amoung their peers.

I am a civilian member of the Air Force working as a fighter test engineer on the developmental test and evaluation of the F-35 Joint Strike fighter - a 5th generation, multi-role, supersonic stealth fighter procured by the three branches of the United States Armed Services and many allied countries as part of the largest government weapon accusation program in history. So yeah, I love my job. I get to park opposite some of the most advanced fighter jets in existence, work with most of the skilled pilots in the world - oh, and hear sonic booms shake the walls of my office every day. I have these opportunities now because I debated in high school. I didn't want to (at first), but I did, and then I learned to love it. I would learn during my senior year of college, when applying for aerospace engineering jobs, how valuable high school debate really was.

I was offered my present job after giving a technical presentation to several engineers at Edwards Air Force Base. A working flight test engineer emailed me the next day, stating "your stage presence, mastery of technical content, and communication skills set you apart." Did you get that? Sure, one of the three skills that got me the job came from being a competitive engineering student; taking college level science and math classes in high school, scoring high in Math on SAT 1 and ACT, having engineering internships, completing college research projects, getting good grades in engineering classes, etc. But the other TWO reasons I got the job were because of skills I learned from debating, that's significant.

I could tell you from personal experience that no one can benefit from debate more than those of you that think you might need it at least. Sharpening all those important technical skills will make you eligible for science and technology related jobs, but competing in debate will make you desirable compared to other applicants. You will develop the acumen to present yourself intelligently and fluently in an academic setting. Debate will train you to listen critically, think carefully, speak concisely. It will give you confidence. Employers want to see more than book smarts; they want to see you stand out. Nothing I know will better prepare you to do that joining Paradigm and doing debate. I know you won't regret it. And you might even like it.